SODA Committee: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns
Sexual Orientation Diversity Allies
SODA is the LGBT Outreach Committee for the Counseling Center
SODA works to facilitate the development of all University of Illinois students, faculty, and staff around issues of sexual orientation, and to improve the experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students through advocacy and education. SODA is a committee under the auspices of the Counseling Center’s Outreach and Consultation Services division and is composed of professional staff from the Counseling Center and the Office of LGBT Resources, doctoral psychology interns, Counseling Center paraprofessionals, and a graduate assistant.
What We Do
SODA responds to requests from faculty, staff, and various departments within our campus community to provide educational programming (e.g., workshops, group facilitation, etc.) around issues related to the well-being of LGBT people, including but not limited to the following: Homophobia, heterosexism, developing an LGBT ally identity, supporting activism on campus, campus climate for LGBT individuals, and accessing LGBT resources, etc. Programs facilitated by the Committee are open to members of the university community of any sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Programs offered by the Committee share a commitment to exploring and understanding the intersection of sexual orientation with various other indices of identity including race/ethnicity, nationality, gender socialization, gender identity and expression, social class, ability, and religious/spiritual tradition.
SODA also maintains the Faculty/Staff LGBT Ally Network on campus. This includes facilitating an LGBT Ally Trainings and Transgender Ally Trainings several times per year, moderating a listserv for faculty/staff allies on campus, co-sponsoring and co-planning monthly Ally Network events/meetings to provide more advanced training on LGBT issues, nominating and honoring an Ally of the Month, providing various resources and reading materials, publicizing local events for LGBT people and allies, as well as providing opportunities whenever possible for Allies to stand in solidarity with the campus LGBT community and put into practice their skills and training.